Having grown up doing a lot of work to cut wood and bring in hay as part of a family, I’ve always been partial to rugged, outdoor clothing–even though now my work is more at a desk rather than stacking brush or throwing bales. I glance at catalogs and shake my head at models dressed in flannels with waterproof boots, completely free of mud and sweat, who look like they’ve never worked physically a day in their lives.
They are a lot like Christians who love to hear the Word of God preached but don’t apply it.
Most have sung “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock” from Matthew 7:24-27 and at a youth event. There are several principles from this illustration that are important to understand.
I. Both the wise and foolish men were ‘building.’ Both were sincere in picking up the tools and actively engaged in construction. They did not just read a book about house building and agree with the techniques used. They both worked hard and ended up with a place to live. Everything that we say and do–even if we refuse to say and do–we end up with a life, good or bad, that we have built.
II. The distinction between the two men is whether he puts Jesus’ words into practice. Both hear Jesus’ words, but only the wise man applies them to the building of his life, right from the first choice, perhaps the most essential choice: which foundation to build upon. The wise man chose the rock while the foolish one, who probably felt justified and had good excuses, chose sand.
III. The reason we must build well is because the storms of life do come. Notice that nowhere in Jesus’ illustration does he say if the hard rains, the rising streams, and the terrible winds come. They will, and only the wise will be prepared for them. Throughout many years of ministry and in my own life, I have weathered and helped others weather life’s storms. Some houses have fallen with a crash.
So, in your life are you the outdoor catalog model in new clothing, holding an unused axe? Or, are your sleeves rolled up in readiness, your knees dirtied from prayer, and calluses lay across cracked and toughed hands? Are you building? Are you building on the rock? Will your house withstand the storm?